August 12, 2011
DWR Quilt Along: Assembling a Block
I mentioned this earlier this morning, but I got my dates a little mixed up when I edited the schedule two weeks ago. I posted the date for assembling the blocks as August 19th, when it should have been today. I went ahead and fixed it on that post. If you click over and check, you might see something else that's a little different...after careful thought, I decided to add another step because the schedule jumped straight from assembling the blocks, to assembling the entire quilt top, and I felt that was too big of a leap for 2 short weeks. So...my next post in two weeks will show you how to put the rows together, and once we've finished those, we'll tackle the top as a whole :)
So let's get this party started! Here is how to assemble a Double Wedding Ring "block" (I'm using that term loosely since it's really a circle, lol!)...
First, grab one of your center medallions and transfer over the corner markings from the medallion template (the one printed on the pattern) with an air or water soluble marker. It's a big, black dot on the template that's impossible to miss. Make sure you mark all four corners with this dot, because it's the point where your different pieces meet up and you stop sewing.
Next, fold the medallion in half. Press. Now open the medallion back up, fold the opposite way, and press. You should now have neatly pressed folds that divide the medallion into quadrants. These will help you center your arcs when you're pinning and sewing.
Grab four of your pieced arc/melon pieces (the ones that look like a football) - two with intersection print #1, and two with intersection print #2. The picture below will give you an idea of how the finished block will look.
Take one of your "footballs" and line the center seam up with one of the center folds on the medallion (at this point, it doesn't matter which side you choose). We'll follow the same procedure for this step as we did for piecing the melons & arcs. Always pin the center first, then the tips, and then the in-between areas.
Now take a look at the seam where you joined an intersection square to the end of that arc.When you pin the tips in place, you want your corner dot to line up perfectly with this seam. In the photo below, my ruler is lying directly on top of this straight seam, and you can see how the dot touches the edge of this seam. Pin in place. Repeat on the other side, and then pin the remaining areas.
Starting at the corner marked on the paper template, begin sewing. Sew directly on top of the solid black line until you reach the other corner. Backstitch and stop when you reach this point.
FYI: Someone asked me about sewing over pins after my last post, and I wanted to include the answer for all of you. For the Double Wedding Ring pattern only, I do sew over my straight pins. Normally that's a bad idea because it can snap your needle, your pins, or both...sending metal shrapnel flying about. I can say from personal experience that I've had a needle tip or two shoot at my face...it's not an experience I'd recommend. HOWEVER, for the DWR alone, I sew over my needles because it's nearly impossible to keep the fabric from shifting if you don't. And surprisingly, I'm not all that worried about it, because I sew much more slowly than normal when I'm working on this pattern for accuracy reasons. If something does fly at me, it's not going to have much force behind it because of my grandma-like speed.
Once you finish attaching the first "football" to the center medallion, flip it over. If done properly, the beginning and end of your seam should line up with the dots you made.
Fold the pieces right side out and press.
To attach the second football, you'll use the same process. Line up the center points and pin.
Flip it over, and continue pinning (tips first, etc.). Attach the second football exactly as you did the first.
Once your first two footballs have been attached to the center medallion, your block should look a little something like this...
Next we'll attach the sides. Grab your 3rd football and pin at the center.
When you go to line up and pin the tips, make sure you open them up and pin that way. The tendency of the fabric might be to fold over, but you don't want this! If it's folded, you'll end up sewing over that seam allowance and it will make your tightly pieced corner all funky.
Once you're done pinning, it probably won't be pretty. As you can see, mine looks like a hot mess.
Once you're done pinning the medallion to the football, you need to pin the intersection squares together at each end. The medallion doesn't extend out this far, so you're actually pinning the footballs directly together here. Starting at the tippy-top, sew a 1/4" seam. Try to be as accurate as possible when sewing the intersection squares together, because you don't have any paper to guide you. When you reach the paper, keep on trucking - you should only have to pivot your fabric a little to maintain that 1/4" seam.
Do the same when you reach the bottom. See how I plowed straight ahead from paper to fabric?
Open that bad boy up and press. Your corner should look a little something like this...
Repeat on the other side. When you're finished, make sure you clip notches along all of your curved seams on the back side (just like we did when piecing the arcs & melons). Hooray - you're done!
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Don't worry if your fabric doesn't want to lay perfectly flat, because the paper is foiling your plans for DWR Domination. It doesn't allow the arcs to give as much as your center fabric, and therein lies the problem. Once you assemble the top and tear off all the paper, it will look much, much better - cross my heart and hope to die!
As you can see, mine looks a little puckered in the photo below. Hopefully that makes you feel a little better if yours isn't crisp and perfect :)
Before you continue making more blocks, PLEASE RE-READ THE PATTERN! If you scroll down to the 2nd page, you'll see that you only need to make 4 full blocks like the one above. The remaining blocks require various combinations of 1-3 footballs, and the pattern provides you with detailed diagrams and quantities.
Happy Sewing! As always, please feel free to post questions in the comments or email them to me directly :)